Democracy Of Reviews

August 5, 2015

Hooray for more wine reviewers. But stay away from most “celebrity” stuff.

When it comes to the formal evaluation of wines and spirits, the advent of the internet and the rise of social media have fundamentally altered, to some degree even leveled, and largely democratized the playing field. Now practically anyone with a computer can give voice to their views.

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Survey: 40 % Of American Adults Enjoy Drinking Wine

March 11, 2015

Review of the Black Tulip 2011 and The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

It turns out that 40 percent of American adults enjoy drinking wine, with a third of those drinking a glass or two several times a week. The breakdown showed that 19 percent of those surveyed only drink wine, 19 percent drink wine and liquor but no beer, 20 percent drink wine and beer but no liquor, and the remaining 42 percent drink all three.

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A Blend Of Regions

March 2, 2015

Reviews of the Herzog Variations Four Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 and 2 Cragganmore Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

It is often said that wine makes itself, and that all that is really needed are grapes and the right conditions. This is largely true. Left alone, grapes will indeed start to decompose, the skins will break and natural yeast will work its magic on the juice – all things being equal. As Benjamin Franklin once wrote (typically misquoted and mangled into an adage about beer): “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!”

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From Adversity, Wine

February 2, 2015

Reviews of the Yatir Viognier 2010 and Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky.

Many of the world’s finest wines, counter intuitive though it might seem, are actually created from grapes that grow in surprisingly meager conditions. Conditions that would cause other crops to suffer—like nutrient-poor soil, sparse water and daily temperature fluctuations—can stimulate the vines to concentrate whatever the land and microclimate has to offer on making the grapes more flavorful for wine. Proper viticultural practices, like careful pruning, trellising, keeping away pests, and the like, are obviously crucial components, but nature’s bounty remains the most fundamentally important element. So, all things being equal, winemakers tend to prefer vineyards in locations that will greatly, though beneficially, stress the vines.

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Unesco

January 14, 2015

Review of the Kadma Syrah 2011 and Tomatin 18 Year Old, Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Among the many programs established by the United Nations is the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” The purpose of the catalog is to ensure the continued viability of specific folk practices and encourage dialog to reflect “cultural diversity.” This list is a fascinating collection of obscure and eclectic customs and traditions.

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Making It To The Top

December 12, 2014

Reviews of the Recanati Galilee Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 and several whiskies from The Glenlivet.

For the first time since 2008 an Israeli wine has been included in the Wine Spectator magazine’s annual list of this year’s “Top 100 Wines”. It is quite an honor since the magazine’s editors sample over 18,000 wines from around the world before selecting their favorite 100 wines of the year based upon “quality, value, availability and excitement.”

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Wine Bath

November 17, 2014

Reviews of Neve Midbar 2011 and several Glenfarclas Single Highland Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Professional basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire, who proudly proclaims an ill-defined Jewish heritage of some sort—“I am a Hebrew through my mother” is how he put it in 2010, though his agent was quick to note “but he is not [Jewish]. He thinks there may be some Jewish blood on his mother’s side and he is researching it”—has added something called “vinotherapy” to his post-workout recovery program. Sounds like code for simply getting buzzed on wine, right? Well, not in this instance.

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Green Wine

November 3, 2014

Reviews of the Aveleda Grinalda 2012 and two Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

It is not yet, thankfully, too cold for us to be able to enjoy a warm weather wine from Portugal: Vinho Verde (pronounced “veen-yo vehrd”). The name translates to “green wines.” Vinho Verde is not a grape varietal. The “green” is meant as “young” as in they should be consumed young in order to best appreciate their vibrant fruit flavors.

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What Wines Did King David Drink?

October 28, 2014

Reviews of Shiloh Legend II 2010 and several Speyburn Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Although the biblical texts are replete with references to wine, the exact varietals employed to create these libations remain a mystery. From the seventh century Islamic conquest of the region until the rebirth of the modern Israeli wine industry in the late 1800s, wine production in Israel was essentially dormant. Consequently, the indigenous wine grape varietals were largely lost. Currently, the grape varietals being widely grown in Israel are mostly European imports, including such familiar names as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay and Syrah.

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